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Routes in Child Free Zone (aka Parkway Crags)

5.8 Crack T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Big Loose Goose? S 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Child Abuse T 5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b
Cool Thing S 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Fergus Traverse V1 5
Hairball T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a X
Mohare Eclaire S 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Monkey Puzzle S 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
Mousetrap T 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Mystified Monkey T 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Off Guard S 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Parental Abuse S 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Power and Lies S 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Power and Lies Trad Variation T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Puzzled Monkey S 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Rafiki S 5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
Rodent, The S 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Scream Amy T 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Skin Deep S 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Unknown S 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Unknown 3 (Rat Race?) S 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Unknown 2 T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Unknown Crack T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Unknown L S 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Unknown Q S 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Unknown Rib S 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Uomama bin Rotten TR 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Type: TR
FA: Alan Nelson
Page Views: 688 total, 4/month
Shared By: Alan Nelson on Nov 3, 2001
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

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This route has some of the absolute worst rock I've encountered in a quarter century of cragging. The only other route that even came close fell into the Pacific back in the '80s. Large sections of this pitch have bear a strong resemblance to used clumping cat litter in appearance, feel, and structural integrity.

It is listed as a "chipped" route because countless holds were created, destroyed, and modified during the initial ascent, and it seems certain that this process will be repeated on any subsequent ascent. No tools beyond bare hands (I left my chalkbag in the car) were used in the "manufacture" of this route.

Despite stone that barely qualifies for the classification, the climbing is quite engaging. The real challenge is not in climbing 5.10 moves, but in distributing your weight and pressure on the holds without blowing them to pieces. Pull a little too hard and you'll need to scrape out a new hold with your fingertips. The crux comes about 40' up where the wall bulges slightly.

From where the Access Fund trail skirts the base of the lower tier of the Child Free Zone, head right on the path that traverses the base of the wall. Follow it all the way to the right, past the giant cave/gully to a spot where there is 15' or 20' of better rock at the base of the wall. There is a nice 80' bouldering traverse (Fergus' Traverse - V1) from one gully to the next along the base of this wall, and a bolted Richard Wright route on the right that goes halfway up the cliff. Start about 20' left of Richard's route in a grey corner with a crack that looks better than it is. Head straight up using anything that comes to hand (tossing off about half of it). On the upper wall, follow a crack up the middle of the wall left of the chimney past endless perched boulders to a particularly large one that hasn't fallen off the rim yet.

Don't forget your helmet, don't set your pack at the base, and be sure to belay from well off to one side. There's not much point in bolting it into a sport route - even with 25 clips it would still merit an R or X protection rating.


Equalize four or five pieces up on the rim, and rig it so the TR point is over the edge with a 30' chunk of rope. Pray that weighting the anchor doesn't cause the top of the cliff to disintegrate. A doubled 60m rope may not reach the base.


- No Photos -
Geez, how did I miss this before?

I made the initial comments to this route on Nov 8 (the site dates them). Climbingboulder rolled out Chipping Round 2 on November 9, according to the site News on the homepage. Thus, Alan's 1st point above is totally bogus and unfounded.

-mike Nov 19, 2001
Thank you for your response, Alan. I think I better understand your point of view now, though I certainly still disagree with it, as you weren't nearly as persuasive as I had expected and hoped.

In response to your 1st point: I assume you are speaking about the 2nd comment to Bin Rotten (I wrote that). The comment was made shortly after you posted the route. The phrase "altering of rock via blatant hold manufacture, be it with a hammer or pneumatic drill" is from the climbingboulder chipping stance that was current when the comment was made. I distinctly remember the stance being updated AFTER I posted that comment.

In regards to the definition of tools including a prosthesis and sticky rubber shoes - if you're removing loose rock, no, that's not manufacturing a route. The removal of loose rock is one of the unavoidable impacts of our sport. Now, if you have two working hands, and you take your buddy's prosthesis off the stump of his leg, and go up there and hack away at the rock with it to make a hold as your buddy hops his way up the trail, that's chipping a route.

You make up all these thought experiment exceptions to the rule, yet you are merely being purposely obtuse. The fact is that you know exactly what is meant by climbingboulder's stance, as evidenced by your second comment to Fiddler on the Woof, where you distinguish between creating holds and cleaning routes. You said, "As a 'developer who chips' (let's see - less than ten holds out of a thousand or so routes over 25+ years, all on one rotting rubble pile a few years back)..."

In response to your second point: I don't know the intent of those who blasted Sphinx Rock, either. The route is indeed totally the result of the actions of humans. But, I don't think it is a stretch to say that "Creating a crack in a blank face so as to make climbing the blank face easier was NOT the intent." That's enough for the purposes of judging this route in regards to climbingboulder's stance.

And no, you've never said in as many words that "Intent is irrelevant." However, you addressed intent in your comments to the Naked Edge and Sphinx Crack in such a way as to sidestep one of the qualifications in climbingboulder's stance. So, in essence, that's your point. In fact, you further back this up in your final paragraph in your comment above, where you state: "Such historical trivia provides colorful detail, but it is irrelavant to MY aesthetic."

You said, "I judge the creativity of the author by the experience of the route." Thus, I assume you can understand (and identify with) a climber that sinks her hand into an obviously drilled mail-slot and says "This is bullshit." That's all climbingboulder is doing.

-mike Nov 19, 2001
Michael Komarnitsky
Seattle, WA
Michael Komarnitsky   Seattle, WA  
I replied to this relativistic charge in a private email from Alan, but didn't receive a reply. Since he brings it up here, I'll respond in public as well.

Yes, version 1 to version 2 was a change in the standards. However, it was 1% the change compared from version 0 (nothing) to version 1. This classifies it much more as a refinement of the principles and application, rather than an arbitrary change in the classification system (say, "any route beginning with a Q is chipped"). Alan's rhetorical challenges (prosthetic, rubber shoes) are not a discredit to this process - they merely reinforce that we should continue to analyze and make our principles, explanations, and application more precise.

Secondly, this refinement is NOT arbitrary. We CAN analyze and make a judgement that version 2 is a more just and fair application of this principle than version 1. That's a GOOD thing.

Alan's judgement of routes depends on certain factors, but implicitly NOT the chipping or modification of holds. This, from the person who demonized the aesthetics of headpointing. Alan, it seems, is happy to make aesthetic judgements about climbs, and to pronounce them to others. However, he fails to respect and recognize that the community's (near)consensus that chipping and route modification has a serious impact on their enjoyment of the route.

Alan, I wrote this privately and now I write it publicly: you object to this situation, but you attack it via innuendo and 'what-if' scenarios. Make your argument, loud, powerful, and with clarity. If it is sound and logical, you will change the climbing community's opinion and the site's stance on the issue(which I would assume would be your desire). I grow weary of this sniping about dynamite and 20 year old pin scars. Nov 19, 2001
I received an email that said my previous comment could be easily read as a "veiled threat to cut off his [Alan's] ties to the site." I'd just like to say that I am not threatening anyone. Obviously, WE ALL contribute to this site purely on the whim of the site creators and owners. I obviously neither created this site nor own it, and I have never even met those who did.

I am simply trying to get Alan to expound on the reasons behind his stance, which to this point he has not done. I simply believe that since he obviously cares about this topic so much and has very clear and solid opinions about it, instead of mocking Climbingboulder's stance, he should respect it enough to refute it point by point. Otherwise, I suggest Alan take his own advice from the Fiddler on the Woof discussion: "To those who have a problem with climbingboulder's chipping stance, go find another Boulder climbing site to participate in (or create your own)."

-mike Nov 16, 2001
Alan, you just posted a comment to Sphinx Crack in which you said:

"This fine line was blasted into existence with the application of a large quantity of dynamite. While I don't know if the perpetrator "intended" to create any holds, the results are obvious and unmistakeable. It is certainly much easier to climb (free or aid) the crack than the blank wall that existed previously."


Once again you state that intent is irrelevant. Climbingboulder states that the intent IS relevant. Since you are posting here through the grace and goodwill of Climbingboulder, you owe it to them and everyone else to EXPLAIN WHY the intent is irrelevant, instead of merely repeating your condescending mantra once again (which is growing oh-so-boring and predictable.) Nov 16, 2001
This route does not qualify for being marked as "modified" according to the Route Modification page. This page states that the objection is to the "altering of rock via blatant hold manufacture, be it with a hammer or pneumatic drill."

As per your description Alan, you merely pulled rock off this route with your hands and feet. This is simply a loose route, and as the FA you are entitled to leave your routes in an unclean state, or otherwise, as you see fit.

The question is - Did you use artificial tools to create or add holds to aid in your upward progress on this route? As far as I can tell, the answer is NO. Nov 8, 2001
Alan, you posted a comment to the Naked Edge. This route seems a better place to have the debate.

You said: "I won't get into the motivations of the many climbers whose actions so seriously impacted this route, permanently altering the climbing experience for future generations."

This sentence is the reason why you disagree with climbingboulder's route manufacturing stance. As best as I can understand, you reject the notion that the motivations of those who alter the rock matters. That the rock is altered is all that matters to you. You claim that since any climbing will alter the rock, and climbing is a legitimate activity, then all rock altering is legitimate.

The basis of climbingboulder's stance is that the motivations of those who alter the rock DOES matter. Climbingboulder's stance is that all rock modification is NOT equal. When the motivation (as best as it can be determined) is to create/add a hold because the given climber cannot climb the rock as it is, that is unacceptable. Routes that bear the marks of such unacceptable activity will be identified. That's what the owners of the site decided. Period.

Since you disagree with this stance - why? Explain why the motivations of the climber that alters the rock are not a legimate consideration. Do you want to change the stance of If so, convince them otherwise. It's on you. YOU have to clearly explain why they are wrong. Be concise and to the point, or you'll lose your audience. I can see you're trying, but you're being too subtle to be effective. Nov 8, 2001